he Denis Hurley Centre which looks after the homeless in Durban, says there have been some positive silver linings to take away from the lockdown. FILE PHOTO Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

More homeless people completed TB treatments during lockdown

“One of the great successes for us has been helping many more homeless patients complete their TB treatment, easier because they were more stationery than usual.”

CAPE TOWN – The impact of the Covid-19 national lockdown has been devastating for many South Africans, with around 2.2 million people having lost their jobs. 

However, the Denis Hurley Centre which looks after the homeless in Durban, says there have been some positive silver linings to take away from the lockdown.

“One of the great successes for us has been helping many more homeless patients complete their TB treatment, easier because they were more stationery than usual. Throughout this time, our team has treated the usual range of opportunistic infections and skin complaints, dressed wounds, and tested and treated HIV and TB,” said the centre’s director Raymond Perrier.

According to the Centre, since the start of lockdown they have been able to conduct about 6,800 patient consultations at the centre and also out on the streets. Although the numbers are high, the centre said they do represent a significant fall of over 50% from the same period last year. 

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Stephen Carpenter, who is volunteer doctor at the centre said: “This could have a major negative impact in the longer term if people are not testing for treatable conditions or are not seeking help early which could see simple problems getting worse.”

Perrier said they have seen lots of respiratory conditions though no noticeable increase over the usual number; all suspected cases have been referred but none tested positive for Covid-19. 

“We know of no definite Covid-19 deaths among the thousands of poor people we regularly see. It is possible that our homeless community, having survived other viruses in the past, has an above-average resistance to this one and so have not suffered in the way we feared,” said Perrier.

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